Bihar cop fires on protesting flood victims
Patna: A police official opened fire on protesting flood victims demanding adequate relief in Bihar's Bhagalpur district. He was suspended.
Hundreds of angry flood victims on Thursday staged a protest in Bhagalpur, the worst flood-affected district in the state, demanding government help.
They blocked national highway-80, shouted slogans against the government demanding adequate relief and compensation for their damaged crops.
However, when they threatened to surround local officials, police baton charged and opened fire in which several people were injured. One seriously injured woman was admitted to hospital.
Bhagalpur Superintendent of Police Sanjay Singh suspended Akbarnagar police station officer in charge Ram Chandra Yadav for violating his orders not to use force against protesting flood victims.
"I had issued a written instruction to police station officials in the state that in case of any demonstrations demanding relief, they should avoid taking help of Special Auxiliary Police and handle the situation with utmost restraint.
"Yadav was suspended for violating the directive," Singh said. Yadav also failed to intimate the top district police officials about the demonstration by flood victims.
Police officials said they were forced to open fire to disperse protesting flood victims who pelted stones and attacked them.
Rising water level in river Ganga is posing a serious threat to over half a dozen districts in Bihar. The water resources department has put its engineers on maximum alert.
Earlier, the government sounded a red alert in the flood-affected districts following heavy rains in the state and the catchment areas of Nepal.
The floods have affected more than 1.5 million people in 15 of 37 districts of the state.
The State Disaster Management Department officials said flood waters had entered over 1,000 villages in 500 panchayats and rising level of most rivers threatened to inundate many other villages.
The affected villages are in the districts of Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Gopalganj, Munger, Begusarai, Katihar, Araria, Purnia, Saharsa, Darbhanga, Madhepura and Saran.
Thousands have been forced to take shelter on embankments and highways, and in school and other buildings on high ground.